Bob Knight went on a rant this week accusing Kentucky of exploiting the "one and done" system in place in college basketball. While he may have stretched the truth a bit regarding UK players' class attendance his point was a good one. This rule is bad for college basketball.
Baseball and football both make players stay in college for three years before they are draft eligible. Basketball could take a lesson. This rule is stupid. Plain and simple.
And do not for one second believe the rhetoric coming from the NBA and NCAA that it is for the players. They will tell you they want the players to expose themselves to the college experience, blah blah blah.
This is pure and simple all about money. The NCAA Tournament and the networks want to make sure that the next LeBrons, Kobes and Dwights play in at least one NCAA Tournament. Did Kevin Durant really need to play at Texas for one year? Did John Wall need to play at Kentucky?
Brandon Knight and Terrance Jones have declared for the NBA Draft. Assuming they don't change their minds and pull their names back out, which they can do if they do not hire agents, this will be six "one and dones" in two years of John Calipari.
Is this ruining college basketball? Is Kentucky the devil? I wouldn't go that far.
Kentucky is not breaking any rules. At least not that anyone knows of. All Calipari is doing is going out and getting the best players in the high school game. I can't really blame him for that. Would he be better off passing on a couple of these guys to maybe go after some four year players? Maybe. But so far it's tough to argue with his strategy.
In two seasons UK has been to two Elite Eights, one Final Four and has won two SEC Tournaments. Hard to argue with those results.
Critics will say that UK will never win a National Championship depending on true freshmen. But I say, so what? National Championships don't grow on trees. They are a rare feat. All you can really ask of your program is to be in contention. Clearly the Kats are doing that.
Let's not forget, this year's team struggled through the regular season with inexperience and a thin bench. But in the postseason they went all the way to the Final Four where they lost to the eventual champ by one point. They easily could have won this tournament.
There is no reason to think this will not continue next year. If you watched any of the High School All-Star games, all you heard about was the four Kentucky guys. If Knight and Jones stay in the draft, UK will not miss them at all. They will still be a strong contender next year.
If other schools are ticked that UK is grabbing up too much of the top tier talent, then catch Calipari cheating, or get rid of this ridiculous rule. If Cal is not paying these guys or breaking other NCAA rules to get them, then stop whining. If you really want to combat this trend, let the top talent declare for the draft right out of high school.
Kentucky and Calipari are only taking advantage of the rule better than everyone else. So the rest of you can either beat them on the recruiting trail or beat them on the court. If you can do neither, it is not Calipari's fault.
Don't hate the player. Hate the game.